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Noumena

The Art of Fanfic

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I am not a fanfic writer, but very recently I suddenly found myself in the grip of an urge to become a fanfic writer.

I’ve written other things, of course, but I’ve never seen the value in a fanfic. In an ordinary fanfic, I would just be pitting my ideas against the ideas of a show that I love, and there’s no way that I can expect to meet that standard, so the whole enterprise seems pointless. I would be better off writing something original so I can see something that I couldn’t get elsewhere in superior quality.

An adult fanfic is a different matter. I don’t need to match the skill of the original writers to create something interesting in an adult fanfic. The original writers would never show us these characters having sex, and that’s a very exciting idea that we just can’t get from the source material. This makes an adult fanfic far superior to an ordinary fanfic, because it’s justifying its existence by breaking new ground that the television show would not ever touch and showing us a new side of the characters that we love.

The most important skill will be to stay true to the characters. Random people having sex is boring. If I can’t show off the personalities of the characters in my fanfic then my fanfic fails before it begins. If I can make the personalities shine through, then nothing else I do really matters, but that one thing seems like a daunting task. How do you get into the head of your favorite characters to decide what they will do next? How do you get them to have sex without unbelievably altering their personalities?

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The challenge lies mainly in understanding motivations, and knowing character back stories, I think. Most of the time, we don’t get to know a lot about a character’s past, or we get only hints of motivation. Character A hates small spaces, but why? Character B is prone to flip one-liners, and doesn’t engage in any deep conversations, but is he shallow, or shy, or hiding something dark? Those are the places where fan fiction writers can find openings.

As far as romance and sex, well, sex is such a basic drive. It’s not hard to find that in a character, a need for companionship, or relief, or even a sort of control over another character. Does one character’s simmering anger mask feelings of attraction to another character, feelings he fears could never be returned? Sure, it’s cliched, but so are most of the plots in movies, shows, books, and games. There are redemption arcs for less than lawful characters, although it’s harder if the character is deeply evil. And maybe it doesn’t work out. There’s no rule that you have to have a happy ending, after all.

And if nothing else, it’s a brilliant method for honing your writing skills. You have a world, a canon handed to you, complete with characters. Now you get to have them act in ways no one’s seen in the canon settings, and if you can make then believable to other people who know and enjoy the canon world, then you’ve done your job as a writer, and not just as a fan fiction writer.

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Ok, well I’m not sure I completely agree with all your assumptions there about fanfiction in general (forgive me), but I only really read and write adult fanfiction, so maybe.... I do think we should all strive for quality, especially where we are paying homage to something we love, example: Perhaps We May Hear Golden Trumpets by Aspen. And my favourite fanfictions of all time are where the writer (at least for me) does exceed the skill/standard of the original creator, example: Obsession by Ningengirai (read/heed the warnings please!).

The fanfictions I’ve quoted there are both beautiful examples of great in-character writing. Every sentence serves the characters and their development as well as the action, and are mindblowingly gorgeous into the bargain. Yes, they are adult, but that is not all they are. I believe those writers have created something that transcends simple glorification of the original authors, great though those people might be.

The kind of fanfiction writers I love don’t set out to “outdo” or please the copyright holder, they set out to please the characters. We write fanfiction because the characters tell us to, not because the original author said it is okay (though I am really glad that most of them do allow fanfiction of their worlds and universes).

Ok… have I finished growling? Yes, I think I have! Onward!

(sorry about that)

Well, I am not sure after all of that how to answer your question. For me, I would say that I don’t get into Character A’s head… I let them into mine, and usually they’ll tell me everything without me needing to think about it at all. Where the original media is visual, there is actually a lot more to play with. I often find that most actors have certain tics and idiosyncracies that they can’t help, that become part of each character they play, and I’ll sometimes consciously echo those in fanfiction. Really good actors invent those same tics and idiosyncracies for each character they play. Use them. Where the media is a book, you can always try and flavour your language to create a reminder of the source material, although I think you can go too far with this, so be sparing and don’t lose your own narrative voice. If you spend a lot of time with the souce material (i.e. hours and hours) those things will happen without needing to really think about it too much. A lot of fanfiction is about creating a very subtle kind of echo that the reader doesn’t notice, while still managing to inject something new that you want to put there.

Dialogue is a place where a lot of writers fall down for me, and bad dialogue will almost always make me stop reading a story immediately. For instance (to use two of my favourite fandoms), Elrond would never say: “Hi!” Partly because ‘Hi’ is not an acceptable greeting, partly because he’s always more wordy than that, and partly because everything Elrond says must enable him to use up a series of differing facial expressions ranging from mild surprise to intense frowing (I do blame Hugo Weaving for that). Whereas Jack Harkness would never only say: “Hello.” You know, because he’d have to flirt. Even if Character B was a blob of brown goo with a couple of antenna sticking out. In fact, he’d consider that some kind of new and exciting physical challenge.

Listen to the characters. They’ve usually got loads of words of their own, all saved up, just waiting for someone to write them down. Sometimes I hear them so clearly I end up with lots of dialogue that I then have to fill in. Not a pleasant writing experience, but at least it means the characters are coming through loud and clear, and it usually means they’re interacting well with each other.

Ok… now I sound completely insane.

At the same time, never write dialogue exclusively. Always give your characters something to do, or think or feel. Usually when I do this, I find the characters start thinking in adult ways, and before you know it… they’re at it. Admittedily, it’s a lot easier to make Harkness do this than some others. If your character is kind of hard to impress or doesn’t want to misbehave for some other reason, then seduce them into it. Make the story work for you so that the character can’t help but respond. You don’t have to change the character’s personality. You change their environment and their interactions until they have no choice. In one of my stories the Marquis de Sade spends the entire twenty-five or so chapters completely seducing and ruining a priest. All characters have weaknesses you can exploit, no matter who they are. Sometimes you might hit a dead end, so just go back and try something else.

I should note that by “seduce” I don’t necessarily mean sex. I mean to seduce as in to develop the character in such a way that adult fiction will be the end result. Characters are not fixed points (well, except for Harkness, but since he’d do anyone at the drop of a hat, he doesn’t strictly count… neither does he count). If you develop the character slowly enough, and believably enough, you can’t fail.

And lastly, if you’re still wanting advice and not thinking: why the hell doesn’t this pippychick bird ever shut up?! then I’d say a good way to check if you’re going in the right direction is to imagine the scene(s) you’re writing from the pov of each of the characters. It should work just as seamlessly for them all. Even if Character B will never be the pov character, make sure you know why they do and say the things they do. The reader might not consciously notice, but it will give your story plausibility if the motivations are there for all of the characters. And the reader is who we’re trying to catch at the end of the day. We make the characters think and feel because we want the reader to think and to feel along those same lines. The reader is the one we want to seduce, via the characters.

Right. I am finally shutting up.

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@Noumena, I know the feeling. I have been a reader of fanfiction and then I too felt the urge to write some.

About the value of fanfiction, as you have put it, l guess that it always depends on what the reader wants and expects, don’t you think? Personally, l am grateful to be writing and reading fanfiction. It is not only a creative outlet but you also grow as a writer. l think that what has been written in the past 30 years or so can surpass as volume, two centuries of writing. We are a very active and creative generation because we are finally allowed that, don’t you think? We can express ourselves in writing freely, we have the right to the freedom of speech and expression. How beautiful is that?

Suddenly, we find out that we all could be writers and that is an uplifting feeling. Here comes the value of fanfiction. Not anyone here may be a published author with friends in high places or studies of literature. You might think of fanfiction as the secret art of the pyramids, illicit and apocryphal. 

I always wondered whether famous and well-known authors have written fanfiction. I have read somewhere that Neil Gaiman, a British novelist and creator of Coraline used to. I think there are many who write fanfiction. It attracts you with the freedom it promises!

 On the other hand, I think you mention adult fanfiction as a form of an easier to emulate literature. Now another question… is fanfiction literature? Yes, it can be. The dictionary says that literature could mean any written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.

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 I don’t need to match the skill of the original writers to create something interesting in an adult fanfic.

Regarding your comment, the answer is maybe… or maybe not. I think many people associate fanfiction with writing about other people’s characters having sex, without it being necessarily so. It all relies on how the fanfiction author writes this “sex” happening. There is a very fine line between writing erotica, sensual works and simply describing acts of sex. The first titillates but keeps some mystery, the latter may be associated with porn. I guess the answer lies in the eye of the beholder. I had the pleasure of reading some very explicit works by some authors, lengthy fanfiction stories with multiple characters, action, intrigue, and of course, lots and lots of sex. What automatically classified this into my mind as erotica was the immense skill of the author to provide us with deep and meaningful psychological aspects to this sex. How amazing is that? Writing about sex, finally, escapes centuries of taboo. Sex in writing becomes highly explorative and highly psychological. It may not be a continuous discourse on feelings and emotions and consequences of said emotions but the sensuality and thus the quality of the sex depicted may rely entirely upon small, even mundane details. 

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 How do you get into the head of your favorite characters to decide what they will do next? How do you get them to have sex without unbelievably altering their personalities?

 

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These are very good questions and you made some interesting and useful points! I too wonder, many times, whether placing the characters in different settings alters their personality too much. However, I put my faith in the diversity of fanfiction. Whenever I read something that is so well written that would make published authors envious and in an unusual, highly improbable setting (even OOC or with many OCs), my faith is restored. 

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The challenge lies mainly in understanding motivations, and knowing character back stories, I think. Most of the time, we don’t get to know a lot about a character’s past, or we get only hints of motivation.

 

I agree with @BronxWench! I guess fanfiction is more of an intuitive thing to write, one filled with challenges? There are creative writing classes but with fanfiction, no one but other ficcers can tell you how it is done (their experience) or whether there is a correct way to do it. I too believe that trying to inhabit that character might put us into perspective. That’s why, I guess with darker fics, this might come to reflect on your own state of mind, even affecting you to point where you need some time-out. I still have to reach a point where I feel completely detached from what I write. Plus, I don’t think that’s entirely possible.

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On 2/5/2017 at 2:55 AM, Desiderius Price said:

The most important part is to write, it’s like a muscle.

(I’m on break and currently trying to figure the posting system out)

Absolutely true! Practice makes perfect. However, I think that the quality of the material you read can also influence you, can set a sort of standard for your own writing practices.

On 2/5/2017 at 2:44 AM, BronxWench said:

And if nothing else, it’s a brilliant method for honing your writing skills. You have a world, a canon handed to you, complete with characters. Now you get to have them act in ways no one’s seen in the canon settings, and if you can make then believable to other people who know and enjoy the canon world, then you’ve done your job as a writer, and not just as a fan fiction writer.

 
 

(figured how to work the quotes, folks. Indeed, practice makes perfect. here’s living proof)

I wonder how many fanfiction writers view this form of writing as an exercise? To me, it is still an exercise (working those muscles hard atm), mostly combined with a love for the worlds of the respective owners. To me it was something like: please don’t end, it’s too beautiful, has so much to offer! If we talk Tolkien or Rowling. 

What @BronxWench says is quite reassuring. A writer. Thank you! It isn’t painting by numbers, but a different approach that is directed at satisfying yourself and if you want, the audience. I mean… how many of you got into fanfiction to write for others, and how many of you got into it to write for yourselves? I write for myself. I don’t necessarily think about what people want to read. Sometimes, when the interests converge, something wonderful happens! We stay in touch with our favourite fanfiction writers and we learn about each other. Sure, there may be competition but what started the whole thing was an outpour of creativity and a necessity to write when the bug bites you. I know people who published. Like IRL – ha ha- and they are so plagued by following a certain structure and their publisher’s directives that they end up printing something that only resembles 40% of what they intentionally had in mind. If they want certain things. Like money. And success. Because to some people, these two are indistinguishable.

And ohmygosh @pippychick , your post is just amazing. Thanks for those links. I will definitely check them out because I really wish to know what other people’s favourite fics are. I can’t even make up my mind.

14 hours ago, pippychick said:

The kind of fanfiction writers I love don’t set out to “outdo” or please the copyright holder, they set out to please the characters. We write fanfiction because the characters tell us to, not because the original author said it is okay (though I am really glad that most of them do allow fanfiction of their worlds and universes).

 
 

Exactly!  That’s how I feel about it! There is an urge to write that doesn’t necessarily look for an audience. The audience finds it if they’re drawn to it.

 

14 hours ago, pippychick said:

Well, I am not sure after all of that how to answer your question. For me, I would say that I don’t get into Character A’s head… I let them into mine, and usually they’ll tell me everything without me needing to think about it at all.

 
 

This is a very interesting perspective. To be honest, I never bothered figuring out how the translation me-character X actually worked. This is actual food for thought. Personally, I started out as favouring a certain character. Maybe because I identified with them. Who knows? However, your approach now makes sense to me. Upon further thinking things through, I realise that what we write is entirely subjective. Character X is a product of the original author’s mind, it is constrained by the design and structure of a work of fiction, thus limited. There are characters to whom are dedicated many hundreds of pages, they become more multi-faceted, more complex, absolutely true. However, they are still limited to those pages. So I guess that it any further exploration rests on the fanfictioner’s shoulders. I also think that the limited design is the actual incentive for starting to write fanfiction. There never seems to be enough said about it. There are many possibilities.

 

14 hours ago, pippychick said:

lot of fanfiction is about creating a very subtle kind of echo that the reader doesn’t notice, while still managing to inject something new that you want to put there.

 
 

You said it!

14 hours ago, pippychick said:

Ok… now I sound completely insane.

 

 
 

No, you don’t. You give really good explanations and may I say… advice!  You cleared some things up for me. Personally, I enjoy long and reasonable explanations. ^_^ Every day I learn something new! Like this:

14 hours ago, pippychick said:

You don’t have to change the character’s personality. You change their environment and their interactions until they have no choice.

 

This may not be 100% on the topic of writing (adult) fanfiction but I really wanted to share it with you. I watched it recently and it is useful. Steven Pinker a psychologist and feminist talks about~ Linguistics, Style and Writing in the 21st Century~ for an hour

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5 hours ago, hauntedpoem said:

Suddenly, we find out that we all could be writers and that is an uplifting feeling.

I just think you have hit a nail squarely on the head here. Fanfiction is a realm where we can all go on journeys and set off on flights of fancy. It’s a world that has no borders and no limits. Frankly, those of us who are looking for escapism find the ultimate freedom in fanfiction. We can be anyone, do anything we wish. When you play in someone else’s world, you change it just by being there. You could consider each fanfiction a paralell dimension of the original content, kind of like endless copies of a world in minecraft that is shaped and worked on until it becomes something different to all around it.

5 hours ago, hauntedpoem said:

On the other hand, I think you mention adult fanfiction as a form of an easier to emulate literature. Now another question… is fanfiction literature? Yes, it can be. The dictionary says that literature could mean any written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.

Yes! :wub:

I have yet to watch your video… I have to take the dogs to the vets to have their claws cut (oh, that sounds so simple, doesn’t it? – looks dubiously at dogs), but I will definitely take a look when I get back in.   

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I started writing when I was in high school, and it was, quite frankly, dreadful. I love language, I love reading, but one doesn’t just decide to be a writer and Bob’s your uncle, you’re a writer.

Cue being an adult for a good long while, and then, being something of a gamer, I played a game with the sort of plot holes that make one whimper. I was surfing online, looking for information, and came across fan fiction about my game, on the community forums. I devoured it. I did. It was a feast for my eyes, and I fell madly in love with the idea of fan fiction as a way to fix the things that niggled about the games I loved. So one day, at the pool, while my kids frolicked, I opened a spiralbound notebook and wrote.

And it was, quite frankly, dreadful. Seriously. But some kind souls encouraged me, and I wrote more, and more, and one day, it wasn’t quite so dreadful.

Then I took on another challenge. I didn’t think I was capable of sustaining a novel-length work, but fan fiction gave me the supports I needed to try it. I had a world, and characters, and I could add in my own characters, fill in the bits the games don’t tell you, and suddenly, I was writing chapter after chapter.

I loved it. But there was more. Someone referred me to AFF, to read a deeper version of a story I liked elsewhere, and oh, my sweet gods, I was home. Not just for the sex, but for the adult approach to everything. Writers here weren’t afraid to see the dark side of things. Not everything had a happy ending.

Writing fan fiction gave me the skills, and the courage to try my hand at original fiction, and I will never be ashamed of writing fan fiction. I still do. I won’t stop, (Sorry, pip, you’re stuck with me! :lol: )

Edited by BronxWench

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34 minutes ago, BronxWench said:

 

but one doesn’t just decide to be a writer and Bob’s your uncle, you’re a writer.

 

 

true that! ha ha! 

 

35 minutes ago, BronxWench said:

an fiction as a way to fix the things that niggled about the games I loved

my sentiment exactly!

1 hour ago, pippychick said:

Frankly, those of us who are looking for escapism find the ultimate freedom in fanfiction. We can be anyone, do anything we wish. When you play in someone else’s world, you change it just by being there.

 

I can vouch for that. I used fanfiction in some of my darker times. I don’t know whether it helped but I also used fanfiction to take some things out of my mind and placing them on the characters, I realised I could see some things objectively ( yes, it is possible!). I mainly externalised some things through fanfiction – I then analysed those things and I came back with a fuller understanding of myself. I specifically said fanfiction because I always chose the characters closer to my heart to say these things I was unable to. I felt safe, true. Whereas a published writer, no matter the talent and the value of their work, needs to constantly be en garde about those inner demons. The scrutiny is public.

1 hour ago, pippychick said:

You could consider each fanfiction a paralell dimension of the original content, kind of like endless copies of a world in minecraft that is shaped and worked on until it becomes something different to all around it.

 

that’s amazing because just this morning I woke up with an immense feel that multiverse is possible!

43 minutes ago, BronxWench said:

Someone referred me to AFF, to read a deeper version of a story I liked elsewhere, and oh, my sweet gods, I was home.

 

I wish to know the name of that story! I really want to try out reading things that inspired others. For me, it’s the first time I joined a forum like this where I can talk about fandoms and fanfiction. Yep, virgin indeed. :lol:

 

45 minutes ago, BronxWench said:

Writing fan fiction gave me the skills, and the courage to try my hand at original fiction, and I will never be ashamed of writing fan fiction.

 

:wub:

@pippychick, yeah, that video is quite long but I liked how Mr Pinker chose to use “she” instead of “he”. Plus, he makes some interesting points about how we come to write about certain subjects. He talks about how many writers, if they have to write a character who is  a biologist for example, will try and delve into biology, just to create depth for the character.

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1 hour ago, BronxWench said:

I didn’t think I was capable of sustaining a novel-length work, but fan fiction gave me the supports I needed to try it.

One more thing to thank fanfiction for, because you know how much I love your novels :)

1 hour ago, BronxWench said:

(Sorry, pip, you’re stuck with me! :lol: )

Yes! I knew it would work… *hides away the tube of superglue and makes evil plan for elveses*

45 minutes ago, hauntedpoem said:

He talks about how many writers, if they have to write a character who is  a biologist for example, will try and delve into biology, just to create depth for the character.

I have researched some very strange and diverse things for fanfiction. My search history is terrible, and probably makes me look like some kind of serial killer.

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No one ever wants to see my browsing history, trust me. The things I bookmark are bad enough. :lol:

But let’s see. The story that brought me here was Ceald Amothien by wanderingaddict. I wrote for this Forgotten Realms ‘verse myself, and I’d read a tamer version on the dreaded Pit, when another author told me about the version here on AFF. What got me was not only the richness of the imagery, but also the sheer exuberance of the writing. It was enough to make me start looking all over AFF, and devouring stories all over. pippychick had me with her LotR and Torchwood stories. JayDee tested my limits, and stretched them. I’m bad about updating my Recommended Reading, or Fav Authors, but my Currently reading is full of gems, too. So many gorgeous stories…:wub:

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Ages ago, after the first Harry Potter film, I saw the DVD on sale, decided to buy it (thinking I’d give it away as a gift), watched it, and became hooked.  Read the books (1-4 at the time), saw the second film, and didn’t really want to wait.  I started to stumble into fanfiction, started reading, (initially I thought it was stolen material, as in, hacking JKR’s computer, before I came to understand it).  I enjoyed it and kept reading.   There was one particular fanfic I wanted more of, but the author wasn’t updating and I grew impatient.  Until this point, I hadn’t written anything since my high-school/middle-school days, so I wasn’t very confident, but I wanted it to continue; I picked up the keyboard, started typing.  That first fanfic is still posted (not on AFF because I wasn’t aware of AFF at the time, and it also violates the rules here), the sequel is still a WIP (last updated ~5 years ago); and I had even written adult “versions” for chapters of both fics that I’ve never posted.  Nowadays, I write original science fiction in a distorted dystopia that might come to pass. 

I suppose the moral is whatever cracks the ice, gets you to write.  For me, it was a nearly abandoned fanfic that I felt the urge to continue, and in the process, I overcame my self doubts.  My original stories wouldn’t have been written if it weren’t for breaking the ice a decade and a half ago, playing around in JKR’s sandbox for a while.

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Because I regularly write adult-oriented fanfics (ie, porn) about characters that never have sex in canon (because they are characters from children's cartoons), I feel compelled to put my two cents in here.

 

I agree with those who say that fanfics are generally easier to write than original fics, because you're using “prefab” characters and settings that you don't need to develop from scratch. But -- and I think the OP was getting at this – writing fanfic poses the unique challenge of portraying someone else's characters in a believable way.

 

I don't agree with the OP that this should be less of a concern when you're writing erotica. On the contrary, the challenge in writing such fanfics is creating a situation in which the characters can have sex without readers thinking, “No way, these characters would never do that.” Because, IMO, there's no point in writing a fanfic if the characters aren't recognizable as the ones that the fans love.

 

Part of the fun of writing porny fanfics is figuring out how to make the sex happen in a way that is believable and in-character for the participants. One way in which I do this in my cartoon fanfics is to use plot devices that are in keeping with the show. For example, on the cartoon series The Loud House, one of the characters is basically a mad scientist who invents all sorts of cartoonishly impossible things but doesn't always think about the consequences. So in my recent story “Whoops,” I had her develop a synthetic pheromone to get her lab rats to breed but that ends up affecting everyone in the house. Massive porniness ensues. :)

 

Of course, it doesn’t have to be anything so far out. Characters may discover that their sexuality emerges under certain circumstances. In my Phineas and Ferb story “Tri-Date Area,” the three main characters decide to try dating one another (ie, having a three-way relationship), and one of them finds that these circumstances bring out her sexual desires with an intensity that being in a typical, two-way relationship did not.

 

Okay, my two cents turned out to be more like a buck fifty. :) 

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4 hours ago, GeorgeGlass said:

Writing fanfic poses the unique challenge of portraying someone else's characters in a believable way. I don't agree with the OP that this should be less of a concern when you're writing erotica.

I didn’t mean to say that at all. Quite the contrary, I think making the characters believable is the only serious challenge of writing a erotic fanfic. Writing an erotic fanfic is easier in other ways, but characterization is one area where being erotic does not help and so it is foremost in my mind. I am binge watching to try to find a good way to get the characters to do the things I want them to do, and it is all because it is so important to be faithful to the characters.

In an ordinary fanfic you’re putting the characters through an adventure, and that invites direct comparison with the source material. It raises the question: if my fanfic were an episode of the show, would it be one of the better episodes, or one of the worse episodes? For an ordinary fanfic that is a huge challenge to overcome on top of making the characters believable. For an erotic fanfic there is no comparison with the source material because your fanfic could never be an episode of the show. Instead of trying to do what the show does and replicate what makes the show great, we’re trying to do something the show could never do and so we don’t have to try to replicate any greatness. We still have the challenge of bringing the characters to life, but that seems tame by comparison.

There are other ways to make fanfic writing easier. Instead of writing an erotic adventure for characters of a show or movie that you like, you could write a fanfic for a video game. Even excellent video games are traditionally quite weak in their stories, so even if you don’t have any great ideas for your fanfic’s story you can still often improve upon the source material. A long time ago I once wrote a fanfic for a card game; the game had practically no story at all so it had to be mostly my own ideas, but I knew that no matter how mediocre my ideas might be they were still going to be worth writing because they were a better story than the game had to offer.

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41 minutes ago, Noumena said:

I think making the characters believable is the only serious challenge of writing a erotic fanfic. Writing an erotic fanfic is easier in other ways

Oh, surely not…*g*  Erotic fiction is a challenge in its own right, fanfiction or original. I’ve seen too many professional authors stumble over their erotic scenes to doubt it. You can almost see the cringe they had while they were writing.

Erotica demands a lot from a writer, and you can’t be afraid of exposure. I think you have to put a lot of yourself into it for the characters’ sake, and draw on all of your experience (sexual or otherwise), without being self-conscious in the slightest. As if you were taking your experience and lending it to them without conditions. If there is embarrassment, self-consciousness or giggling, then that had better be coming from the characters, not yourself. You don’t even need to be vastly experienced to do this, since any gaps can be bridged via deductive leaps, but you must do it.

Character and sexual writing are all tied up together. If you want to write good erotica, as opposed to generic porn, you need to make the characters drives and motivations as much a part of the sex as the physical act itself. Why do they want it? How long have they wanted it for? How much (or how little) does it mean to them? The easiest way to describe what I mean is to think in terms of RL. Say, if we have a sexual encounter, we don’t draw solid lines around it and section it off from the rest of our life forever. Nor can we, because depending on the circumstances, there may be consequences to face. The same is true of fictional characters. Sometimes, sex just happens. It’s natural. It happens to you, just the same as it will happen to them.

To be brutally honest here, I often find the lack of sex drive in characters off-putting in a show. The lines around what is acceptable sexual tension and what they refuse to write/produce/show often makes the characters and their world seem stilted and grey to me.The world is not sterile. If the whole human race danced around each other endlessly like that, we’d never reproduce. As much as I still resent RT Davies for killing my best man off (sniffles), at least he’s never shied away as a writer from creating fully formed characters, complete with normal sex lives/drives. Hell, that he does create such great characters is one of the reasons I’m so annoyed at their sudden death.

Once you’ve thought about all those things, then you can consider the technicalities of writing sexually (tension, pacing, rhythm, word choice and so forth). And, if you’re a woman writing m/m slash, that’s a whole other can of worms to pick through and research to be done. Although I do think that if you’ve done the earlier groundwork, as above, then you can still be very convincing, even if you don’t know exactly how the male orgasm feels.

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Ahhh… The art of fanfiction, the title says it all.

I read HP like everyone else while still in middle school and I remember waiting anxiously for the 5th book. You see… I am Romanian. I read in Romanian and when our small town library got the 5th book in English, there was no translation yet into Romanian. I had to read it. So I did. I was 14 and I so wanted to know what came next that I worked really hard on my English.

I remember beeing a teenager, back in high-school and discovering fanfiction through a good friend of mine. She was into LOTR (still is!). I was 16, devouring Dostoyevski and heavy novels of epic proportions, I fancied myself in love with German expressionism and I even attempted to understand Wittgenstein. I was an idealist. I started reading other things to get a grasp of how things work in the modern world and I found fanfiction but I had little idea about the original works. Then it all clicked. Must have been that age. Ha haa! There was an abundance of fanfiction with an erotic twist.

Even now, I think that so-called adult-themed fanfiction draws the most readers. I don’t think it’s that easy to write about such subjects, especially when you’re underage and have no experience except for the giggling fumbling awkward kissing in your highschool hallway.

I see that most male slash is written by women. I read a couple of slash novels but to be honest I preferred the fics for some reason. I am still trying to figure out that reason. 

These days I find myself cleaning my hard-drive. I find fics I started a year or probably two years ago. I mend them and I send them out. It’s quite cathartic. I’ve written before. Not fanfiction. I’ve written in my own language on different subjects. I tried serious stuff but when you’re in 7th grade, you know little about the world around you and you are anything but a serious writer. Then I started writing in my first year of Uni. Together with a friend of mine, I managed to create a 200 pages monstrosity that ended up in a dusty drawer because we had exams and serious life stuff to battle. I write sparingly in my own language. It takes a bloody long time. I am my worst critic, after all.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, pippychick said:

If the whole human race danced around each other endlessly like that, we’d never reproduce.

made my day!

… and that’s why the dinosaurs disappeared.

Thank you @pippychick for talking about this. It’s quite enlightening.

41 minutes ago, pippychick said:

hy do they want it? How long have they wanted it for? How much (or how little) does it mean to them? The easiest way to describe what I mean is to think in terms of RL.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, pippychick said:

And, if you’re a woman writing m/m slash, that’s a whole other can of worms to pick through and research to be done.

 

We need to discuss this in depth. I mean it! I really think we do. I need to figure out why as a woman I like male slash so much. Ah, time to psychoanalyse, I guess.:think:

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On 2/7/2017 at 1:21 AM, pippychick said:

Character and sexual writing are all tied up together. If you want to write good erotica, as opposed to generic porn, you need to make the characters drives and motivations as much a part of the sex as the physical act itself.

This is exactly why erotic fan fiction is so exciting and generic porn is so boring. Generic porn excludes everything that makes sex interesting by using flat and undeveloped characters, while erotic fan fiction exploits characters that you already know to create fascinating sexual situations. If we can just stay true to the characters in our fanfics then we’ve already won because any sex they have will automatically be interesting. It is sex between characters that we know, so it can’t fail to be interesting.

The hard part is finding a good excuse to make the sex happen. Sometimes you can spend hours studying canon looking for an opening. If two characters have never shown a hint of attraction for each other, then convincing yourself that your fanfic about them having sex is true to their characters can be challenging. It can be especially disheartening when you see a particularly somber episode and start to wonder if the characters having sex would be disrespectful to all that they have been through together. Is flirting even an option with someone who has fought hard-won battles at your side? How does someone transition from a long-time companion into a sexual partner?  

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On 2/7/2017 at 1:47 AM, Noumena said:

I didn’t mean to say that at all. Quite the contrary, I think making the characters believable is the only serious challenge of writing a erotic fanfic. Writing an erotic fanfic is easier in other ways, but characterization is one area where being erotic does not help and so it is foremost in my mind. I am binge watching to try to find a good way to get the characters to do the things I want them to do, and it is all because it is so important to be faithful to the characters.

My bad—I misunderstood.

The up side to writing erotica about characters who are never portrayed in sexual situations is that you have a lot of latitude. Bossy characters might also be bossy in bed—or the bedroom might be the one place where they’d rather relax and let their partner take control. The dark, gloomy character might secretly be a romantic. You just have to find a rationale for the character to behave the way you think they should.

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4 hours ago, Noumena said:

The hard part is finding a good excuse to make the sex happen. Sometimes you can spend hours studying canon looking for an opening.

Yep. Welcome to fanfiction *g*

4 hours ago, Noumena said:

Is flirting even an option with someone who has fought hard-won battles at your side?

It’s as natural as breathing. Really. Someone who has been through shit with you is an even more eligible candidate. Harsh situations create bonding.

4 hours ago, Noumena said:

How does someone transition from a long-time companion into a sexual partner?

The same way it happens in life. Have you ever had a workplace romance? If you haven’t, were you ever tempted? What about friends… have you ever just got it together with a friend to see what would happen? Did you carry it on into a FWB situation? Sorry – I know these are personal questions, I don’t expect you to answer them except to yourself.

The point is, do you ever look back on some affair or other and wonder what possessed you? Regardles of whether alcohol was involved, the answer is almost always proximity – that’s what possessed you. If you leave two people alone together for long enough… it’s inevitable. The same is true of characters. They’re people, just like us. And especially with friends, if you tend to be quite tactile with them, sometimes sex doesn’t have lots of rings around it and warning bells, it just happens.

 

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Some erotic fanfiction is used to create insane crack pairings, other erotic fanfiction is used to fulfill the sexual tension that obviously exists but the original show can never do anything about. Sometimes it’s about an actual canonical pairing and we just want to see them have sex rather than infer it from the fade-to-black. Lots of anime shows are practically sex farces but without any actual sex, and we are just dying for the hapless guy to go to bed with all the girls that are always fighting over him.

In short, it matters a whole lot what show you are doing, what character pairing(s), and what your motivation for that is.

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